Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Five minutes into making this soup I knew I had a winner sitting on the stovetop in front of me. Intense smells swirled around me while the softening onions took on a rich color from all the spices. I don’t get cravings for soups unless they pack a lot of flavor and this sweet potato and apple soup hits the mark so I am extremely pleased to be posting it for as the second post in my fall apple series.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

This soup does take a shortcut by using applesauce instead of whole fresh apples, but you could easily turn your apple picking finds into an impromptu applesauce by peeling, coring then crushing them. And then making this soup of course.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe uses curry powder, but since I didn’t have any on hand I substituted with what was in my cabinet. Feel free to use my version or substitute with curry powder according to the notes in the recipe. The soup has that delicious warming quality that all fall soups should have as well as an exciting complexity of taste.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finishing the soup with a splash of curry butter really deepens this complexity. You might think, “Oh, it’s just a garnish, I’m going to skip the curry butter,” but do not make this mistake my friends! Although it’s just a simple concoction of butter, spices and apple cider vinegar, it adds a final richness and tang to the soup.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

The apple chip pictured in the soup photos is the perfect crunchy texture addition and I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week in my third apple post.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Directions
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once warm add the onions and garlic then cook until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, additional nutmeg and 1¼ teaspoons of the spice mixture that was set aside in the first step. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth then cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the applesauce then let simmer, covered, on medium-low for 20 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are tender, puree the mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the spiced butter.
  6. In a small skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Stir over the heat until browned, just a couple minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix in the apple cider vinegar then drizzle over each serving of soup.
Notes
If you are using curry powder instead, substitute 1.5 teaspoons curry powder for the first 5 ingredients.

Recipe adapted from September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

To celebrate fall I am doing a series of four posts featuring a quintessential fall ingredient: apples! Every year Matt and I go apple picking with his parents at an orchard near their house. For us, this annual ritual signifies the official transition out of summer. In typical New England fashion, some years it is still sunny shorts-weather while other years we have three different layers on trying to stay warm. But what is always the same is the overwhelming fresh smell of apples.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although we haven’t had a chance to go yet this year between other people’s weddings and our own exciting planning, I wanted to provide some inspired recipes for all you fall apple-pickers out there. Whether you’re an apple-picker, seasonal farmers’ market shopper or price-savvy grocery store buyer, this caramelized onion and apple dip is a mouthwatering start to the season’s freshest produce.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Caramelizing onions mellows their taste while breaking down the natural sugars leading to a browned and slightly sweetened result. True onion caramelization takes around 35-40 minutes, however I used a semi-caramelized quick version in this recipe. The end result is just as delicious.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

The onions are combined with tart Pink Lady apples, creamy herb cheese, salty shredded Parmesan and Gruyere before baked until bubbly. This hot dip is addictive on warm baguette slices, salty pretzel chips or grilled pork chops.

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 medium sweet onions, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 sweet-tart apples, such as Pink Lady, peeled and diced
  • 2 ounces soft herb cheese, such as Boursin or herb goat cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet then add the onions and chives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and have started to brown about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the apples. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the soft herb cheese then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the shredded cheeses over top then bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cheeses are bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes before eating.

Recipe slightly adapted from October 2014 Issue 107 of Cuisine at Home.

Fall Recipe Inspiration

As sad as I am to see summer go there is no denying that fall is upon us here in New England. I sadly put away my flip flops after wearing them out of habit this past Monday and stepping out into 50 degrees weather on my way to work. While I was mourning the loss of summer I was instantly cheered up by thoughts of all my favorite fall foods and flavors. So to get you all in the fall mood here are my favorite fall Lemon & Mocha recipes!

Pumpkin Risotto with Roast Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pumpkin Risotto with Roast Asparagus. Oh my. This dish explodes with pumpkin flavor and a creamy texture.

Weeknight Minestrone Soup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Weeknight Minestrone Soup. Quick, tasty, and cozy. Triple win for fall!

Peanut Butter Apple Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut Butter Apple Bars. Blondie bars with chunks of fresh apples are smothered with an addictive peanut butter sauce.

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses & Apricot Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze. Perfect Sunday night supper that will provide some finger lickin’ good leftovers!

Roast Cauliflower & Garlic Soup with Crispy Kale Chips & a Balsamic Drizzle  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roast Cauliflower and Garlic Soup with Crispy Kale Chips and a Balsamic Drizzle. An immersion blender or food processor makes quick work of this flavorful and healthy soup.

Pumpkin Hummus  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pumpkin Hummus. A seasonal creamy dip that is easy to whip up for afternoon snacks and game day.

So embrace fall and enjoy these recipes! I loved doing my honey series so much that I have a series coming up featuring one of my favorite fall ingredients. I’ll keep it a secret for now though and let you be surprised ;-). What’s your favorite fall flavor or recipe?

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie is a heavenly cheese. Encased inside an edible rind, brie has a creamy and buttery texture with a mild taste. When I was younger I used to take my best friend up to New Hampshire to go skiing with me and my family. Her parents used to give us a little food-packed thank you basket every time. The sole reason I remember this is because of the brie.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh the brie! There was always a wheel of it and my friend and I would dive right in, no serving dishes needed.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie’s versatility makes it pair well with everything from turkey artichoke paninis to wedges of apple. Sweeter flavors also complement brie well because it’s so mild and you know how I feel about my sweets.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

This honey walnut topped baked brie is a simple and addictive happy hour appetizer or dinner party dessert. Well, pre-dessert, actual dessert must still be involved.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Brie is already a spreadable cheese, but when you melt it into warm gooey deliciousness it becomes both spreadable and habit-forming. The honey and walnuts on top add just the right amount of sweetness, earthiness and texture to really elevate the baked brie. And doesn’t the topping make it look fancy? You can serve this baked brie on its own, but I like to serve it with warm soft bread or raisin crostini.

Honey Walnut Baked Brie  |  Lemon & Mocha

Honey Walnut Baked Brie
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 wheel of brie
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the brie in a baking dish. Top with the honey and the walnuts then bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve hot with crostini, slices of bread or crackers.

Recipe slightly adapted The Food Network.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pizza is a wonderful thing. Unless you’re lactose intolerant or soulless, otherwise, truly wonderful. The combination of crispy and chewy crust, gooey savory cheese, and whatever inventive toppings your tastebuds desire is irresistible.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last Christmas my stepmom got me this countertop pizza oven from Sur La Table. Ever since then Matt and I have been pizza making machines! Well, the pizza oven is the machine, we’re just an extension of its awesomeness. This bad boy cooks up crispy bottom pizzas with chewy crust and molten cheese in under ten minutes. Oh yeah!

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

I didn’t make a list of possible pizza combinations as I usually do with other foods, but I don’t think we have made the same pizza twice. When my Uncle Rob sent me a huge jar of his homemade honey I instantly knew I wanted to use some of it for a pizza. I love recipes that combine sweet and savory.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

This is a white pizza, which does not mean that it has heliophobia or that it is attending a Diddy party. It simply means it doesn’t have any sauce. Which is fine because the honey, cheese, pear, prosciutto and arugula do more than alright on their own. They come together fabulously for a delightful sweet, savory, salty, herby, cheesy and thirds-don’t-mind-if-I-do dinner.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, time for you to go ahead and make this pizza! I’m going to be sitting here writing a pizza combination list, don’t mind me.

Honey, Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula  |  Lemon & Mocha

Honey Pear & Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula
 
Yield: 3 servings
Ingredients
for the pizza
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices prosciutto
  • ⅓ cup crumbled gorgonzola
for the arugula salad
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the pizza
  1. Preheat oven and prep dough according to pizza dough instructions. Lightly pierce the dough all over with a fork to help keep it from puffing up in the oven.
  2. Mix the honey with the olive oil and brush over the dough, leaving the crust untouched. Top with the mozzarella then the pear slices. Tear the prosciutto slices and place evenly over the top of the pizza. Add the gorgonzola then bake according to pizza dough instructions.
for the arugula salad
  1. While the pizza is baking whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the arugula, being sure not to overdress. Place on top of the pizza after it comes out of the oven just before serving.